How do i become an illustrator [Must Read]

Last updated : Aug 30, 2022
Written by : Latoyia Haddock
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How do i become an illustrator

What qualifications do you need to be an illustrator?

You could do a higher national diploma or degree in illustration or a related subject like fine art or graphic design.

How many years does it take to become an illustrator?

How long does it take to become an illustrator? If you have decided to earn a degree, it will take you four years. Some certificates will require two years of your time. Make sure to begin developing your portfolio at the beginning of your education.

How much does an illustrator get paid?

An Illustrator can earn a great living from their art. According to, the median pay for an Illustrator is $68,000 per year. This means that most Illustrators earn more than the median income.

Can you be an illustrator without a degree?

The simple answer is: yes! You can become a freelance illustrator without an illustration degree. A lot of artists in the industry aren't illustration graduates, and most clients will judge you by the quality of the work in your portfolio — not by the degree or diploma that you might or might not have on paper.

Is illustrator a good career?

If you enjoy the art of creating, illustration is a good career. Although there is a significant demand for Illustrators, the field is highly competitive. Being an Illustrator also makes it simple to work independently.

Is it hard being an illustrator?

Work Hard But, working as an illustrator is never easy. Just like a graphic designer should never stop learning and work hard to keep up with new trends, an illustrator is always “required” to keep working hard and advancing their skills.

How do I start a career in illustrator?

  1. Pursue Your Education. There is a lot of hands-on training involved in a fine arts degree, including drawing, painting, and computer graphics.
  2. Focus on One Specific Niche.
  3. Hone Your Skills and Utilize Illustration Tools.
  4. Build a Strong Portfolio.
  5. Personal Branding.

Where do I start with illustration?

  • Get Inspired.
  • Create Your Own Briefs.
  • Make a Portfolio.
  • Show Your Work.
  • Evolve Your Style Over Time.

How do illustrators find work?

Professionals often search for freelance illustrators on design platforms such as Upwork, Behance and Deviant Art. Clients may use social platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn to find freelance artists, and view their artwork there.

Do illustrators work from home?

While some artists take on freelance contracts and others work as employees, many artistic jobs can be done from home, including remote illustrator jobs. Illustrators generally work with clients and marketing teams to create images and artwork for both print and digital media.

How much do you pay an illustrator for a children's book?

How Much Does A Children's Book Illustrator Cost? You can expect to spend at least $500 for a book illustrator if you know where to look and how to find a good illustrator. Sometimes that $500 has included the formatting and cover design as well. This often surprises people, and it should.

What is difference between art and illustration?

Art is how an artist works to bring an idea they had or were inspired to have, to life through their work. Illustrations are also based on ideas but look to explain these ideas and serve as a depiction of them, rather than showing them from the artist's perspective.

Can I become an illustrator if I can't draw?

Actually, yes. There are many illustrators who create wonderful work that does not involve drawing. Fred Otnes and Melissa Grimes are just two of many illustrators who are best know for combining found imagery to create original works.

Can I be a self taught illustrator?

What is the best way to become a professional illustrator? Don't start with a computer. You may end up there, but the skills you require start with being able to observe, and to do that you need to draw all the time. So take a sketch book with you.

Can you make a living as an illustrator?

Across the United States and the globe, illustrators earn a great living. Whether freelancer or in-house, with the right skills and experience, you can carve out your own piece of this lucrative field.

Is being an illustrator stressful?

Illustrators will see frequent time pressure on the job, likely contributing to an occasionally stressful work environment.

What is the difference between an illustrator and an artist?

An artist is a person who is involved in works that are done as an expression of emotion. An illustrator's work is to make promotions for a particular product, or a concept, or a theme. Artistic works do not need to be commissioned, whereas an illustrator works for a particular idea in mind.

What do illustrators do on a daily basis?

As an illustrator, you'll work to commercial briefs to inform, persuade or entertain a client's intended audience, adjusting the mood and style of images accordingly. You'll typically specialise in a particular design medium, such as drawing, photography or digital illustration.

How do illustrations get clients?

Go to events, portfolio reviews, and illustration conferences. Hang out with other artists and network. Meet people at meet up's. Having a personal contact with someone is a great way to eventually get them to see you work.

How do I become a full time illustrator?

  1. Pursue a formal education. Consider pursuing a degree program in fine arts to receive technical training in things like drawing and computer graphics.
  2. Determine your style.
  3. Create a portfolio.
  4. Find a job or grow your client base.

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How do i become an illustrator

Comment by Marylynn Cartlidge

today I'm going to talk a bit about how I quit my job to become a freelance illustrator hi everyone my name is ash Orlando I'm a freelance illustrator and a small business owner I currently live in Amsterdam with my husband and our dog for quite some time now I've been receiving a lot of messages from you guys mostly on Instagram asking me for some illustration advice and about many different aspects of having your own creative business this is the main reason why I thought having a YouTube channel would be a good idea I remember very well how hard it was at the beginning when I was starting out my freelance illustration career so in my videos I'll be talking not only about illustration but also things like how to get your clients how to price and license your work about contracts how to post your work on social media and make the most out of it how to grow your audience when and where to open your first online store I used almost all the platforms there are so I can tell you which ones I recommend and why so basically I wanted to talk about all the things I wish I knew back then when I was starting out today's video may be helpful if you're in a similar situation now or thinking about quitting your job encore going freelance I know there is already a lot of videos about it but I just wanted to share my own perspective my story is a little bit reversed because I've never really wanted to work freelance to give you a little bit of background I finished my studies with a master's degree in fine arts I always knew I wanted to work as a creative but I choose career as an interior architect interior designer because back then at that time I didn't even think it's even possible to make a living out of illustration I worked in a couple of different interior design studios but in most cases I noticed that the creative process got reduced to recycling old ideas and reusing all concepts constantly I had no creative freedom this is when I decided to start my own interior design studio on the side I was also illustrating back then but mostly for myself I was giving my illustrations away to my friends and family as gifts for them realizing that illustration gives me so much happiness and satisfaction made me wonder if I could possibly make it my profession once I knew I wanted to work as an illustrator I give myself time of one year to give it a try and see how it all works out for me having the clear goal is a base so I wanted to make it a realistic one putting too much pressure on yourself and setting the bar too high with a short deadline can be counterproductive and result demotivating I knew no I wouldn't be making money of my illustration in the beginning so I decided to make use of some things I learned at the University and of something I've always liked doing and I decided to open my own jewelry brand the point of that was to make it my additional income source in order to be able to quit my job also jewelry making is something fun relaxing and I could fully control the hours I put into that so I always get time to work on my portfolio on my own my illustrations when my jewelry started to sell well I could accept less interior architecture clients had more time to work on my portfolio and eventually I was able to contact my potential clients the final but in my opinion the most important ingredient of quitting your job or switching careers was and still is persistence beings are never easy I would even say that there are full of obstacles for example something that I didn't even think about but that cost me a lot was to get used to working alone from home now I'm okay with that but it just took me some time to adjust I think it's very important to have positive people close to you that will support you and encourage you to move forward leaving a job that provides you with a stable income and going freelance can be often scary for some people take advice from the people you trust and add to your project don't let Instagram engagement or any other platform stop you from creating if you know your work is good remember that it's not about likes but creating good work that you feel happy about in my case it was a great decision since I have my own creative business I have a full control of how I manage it I can accept the projects that really interest me everything I work on is fully mine it's my creation so whenever it's appreciated I feel really fulfilled my motivation is much higher now because I want to get better at what I do and I also want to grow my own business as some people say if something is too easy it's probably not worth having I really believe that if you are motivated hardworking and you have a clear goal and plan for yourself you can make it work there will be times that you will think everything is against you and you will doubt yourself but if it's something that you really want and you're passionate about things will start to have thank you so much for watching I hope it was inspiring you can leave me a comment below if you have any question or just to say hi subscribe if you like and see you next time

Thanks for your comment Marylynn Cartlidge, have a nice day.
- Latoyia Haddock, Staff Member

Comment by Elias

do you want to become an illustrator these are the five things you need to do before even touching a pencil according to artist and writer Lisa Condon we all begin our creative journeys with some kind of initial influence she calls this first point of discovery a spark maybe you've just had that spark in discovering illustration and now you're wondering what next with so many books videos classes and such to turn to where is the best place to start the good news is of course that there have never been more resources available most of which are free for those who want to get started in illustration on the other hand so many of the resources that seem to be for beginners don't really start at the beginning there's just so much that beginners don't know that even stuff that seems simple to people like me can sound like white noise if you feel like an absolute beginner I made this video for you but don't leave just yet if you're more experienced sometimes it's helpful to go right back to the beginning ourselves I include myself in this to be reminded of the spark we once had and may have lost perhaps you're feeling a bit disconnected from the reason you got into this in the first place this video can hopefully provide some ways to rekindle that spark and help you reconnect with your work as I was writing for this episode I was going to give some advice for what to learn first if you want to get into illustration well I think what to learn is a great topic I think there's a gap between that first spark that I mentioned that first spark of inspiration and then setting out to learn how to illustrate I think this gap usually gets overlooked and I think a lot of how to get started guides and videos assume you already have some minimal artistic background or already have some well formulated ideas and questions about commercial illustration just peeking into a few intro to illustration type books I have on my shelf I see terms like clients business plan pricing portfolio and I believe these can seem too advanced as topics for the very beginner if you've only just discovered illustration you're probably pretty much at the very beginning the absolute zero and you just don't know what you don't know in this video I want to share with you the stuff that you need to know even before you know what to ask these will take that initial spark of discovery that brought you here and help you turn it into fire if you're just joining up with us now my name is Tom froze I'm an award-winning illustrator and a taught teacher on Skillshare where I've helped tens of thousands of students unlock the world of illustration it took me years of trial and error to figure out how to illustrate for a living and now I want to share what I've learned with you this channel is all about giving you insights and inspiration that will help you become a successful commercial illustrator if you're at the very beginning of that journey thank you for watching I'm glad to be a part of it as always please be sure to like this video if you find it helpful and subscribe to this channel so you can be the first to know when new videos go up my posting schedule can be a little bit unpredictable so hitting subscribe and hitting that little Bell button will ensure that you get notified as soon as I post each video ok let's get into it here are 5 next steps that you should take if you've just discovered illustration and want to learn more about it so the first tip is find inspiration find what inspires you when you're just getting started there's nothing better than to get inspired you've already found that spark that thing that made you want to learn more about illustration or at least I assume that's why you're here so now's the time to keep the party going the good news is that this is one of the most fun parts of learning about illustration you just start gathering what inspires you and a great place to start is actually Pinterest because it's pretty much purpose-built for this very task make a board called illustration or illustration I love and begin pinning you'll no doubt go down a rabbit hole here and I think that's a good thing sometimes I go to Pinterest in the morning before I start my workday and it fuels me up and gets me excited just seeing all the color and shapes that show up I did this a ton when I was starting out and now that I'm thinking about it I want to start making that a more regular part of my workflow again other sources of inspiration of course are Instagram I recommend just following the illustration tag or similar and use the bookmark or save to feature the little bookmark icon in the lower right corner of the image when you find something you love you can save it there and always reference return to it later books and magazines are also a great way to get inspired when you get a chance go to a bookstore or library and peruse their art and design sections as well as their magazine racks I love the element of chance you get when you walk into a physical space and you just kind of get what you get for books and magazines I'd actually recommend finding ones that showcase various artists and their work rather than a how-to book before you have questions about how to do illustration you should first just be flooding your senses with any and all illustration and letting questions occur more organically a great start is a book like 50 years of illustration by Laurens Egan and caroline roberts which walks you through a pictorial history of illustration over the past half-century for magazines try Communication Arts illustration annual or 3x3 magazine I've listed links to these books and magazines in the video description below the takeaway for this first tip is this the first job for a newborn is to feed on its mother's milk I'm going somewhere with this so bear with me you are an illustration newborn and your milk is the inspiration other illustrators have left behind okay it's kind of a gross metaphor so let's move on just be sure to collect your inspiration on Pinterest boards or by using the save to feature and Instagram and of course following inspiring artists where ever they post and share if you want you can even make a folder on your hard drive and save images you find there okay the second tip is to find your heroes find the people who are making the work that you love this is the logical next step from finding inspiration as you seek out and gather inspiration you're going to find images that you are more drawn to than others or perhaps you'll discover a pattern in the kind of illustration you like perhaps that from a certain era or a certain style make note of that and then find out who made the images find more work from these people follow them on all their social media accounts stalk them ok don't stalk them I'm joking but don't forget to also go to their website if they have one read their BIOS find out who their influences are find out the names of the techniques and tools they use such as gouache or vector art and I'll talk more about this in a bit and then look those up I'm gonna say look things up a lot in this video because that's what you do whe

Thanks Elias your participation is very much appreciated
- Latoyia Haddock

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